Gessler, like all tyrants, is enraged by any challenge to his power, direct or indirect, and he especially hates Tell. This is because Tell is someone who rejects the power of Gessler's government over his life. He is self-sufficient and independent and has no use for the petty, autocratic rule of Gessler and his minions. Gessler's threats against his life, which cowed the townspeople, don't work on Tell, so the tyrant moves onto something even more loathsome. He uses a threat to William Tell's son's life to try to break him. Tyrants will always up the ante to try to destroy their opponents. Gessler also advocates another tactic of despots the world over: he wants to disarm the general populace. He tells William Tell this, saying that only the government should have weapons, and also warning Tell that, "It is rash, Tell, to threaten those who have power over you." It's a lot harder for people to oppose tyranny if the only ones who're armed are those who are in power over them. Ultimately, Gessler is taken down by what he feared: an arrow fired by a citizen who had been a victim of his oppression.